Understanding re-buys in poker and how to use them  

Understanding re-buys in poker and how to use them   

A re-buy in poker is when you buy more chips to replace those you’ve lost during a game. Not all poker games allow re-buys, and those that do may have different rules governing them, including how often you can re-buy, when you can re-buy and how much you can re-buy. Actions that are similar to but distinct from re-buys include add-ons and re-entries.

When you can re-buy


A re-buy is specifically for when you’ve either lost all of your original chips or have a dangerously short stack. In a cash game, you can generally buy more chips in order to keep playing, so long as you’re not actually in a hand. You can’t re-buy if you’ve just been dealt a pair of aces and want to make a large bet but haven’t got enough chips. Usually, there is a maximum number of chips that you can re-buy, equivalent to the original maximum buy-in. There may also be a minimum threshold.

Automatic re-buy


If you’re playing on a poker website such as the ones you could find at an NJ online casino, you’ll be playing for real money using virtual chips. There’s often an auto re-buy button that you can activate at the start of the game. If you do so, you’ll automatically have your stack topped up if you’re about to go bust and your account will be charged. Alternatively, you could be offered a re-buy option if your stack drops below a certain level.

Tournament rules


Different tournaments will have different rules about re-buys that are laid out in advance. Generally, re-buys are only allowed during a certain phase of the game, typically at an early stage, before the first break. You may be allowed one re-buy, multiple re-buys or even unlimited re-buys during this period.

Often you can only re-buy when your stack falls below a certain level and can only re-buy up to the starting stack size. In a Sit and Go game re-buys are not normally allowed. A no re-buy game is known as a freezeout tournament, and if you go bust, you’re out. Even a re-buy tournament will go into a freezeout in the latter stages of the game.



An Add-on is when you are allowed to buy additional chips regardless of how many you still have. A game may allow a re-buy if you’re in danger of going bust, and add-ons, which just increase your stack size. The latter may only be allowed during a break in the game but can sometimes be had on more favorable terms than a re-buy.



A re-entry is different from a re-buy in that you have to leave the game and the table, buy in to the game all over again and draw a new seat with a different position. Essentially you are starting again from scratch.

How to play in a re-buy tournament


If re-buys are specifically allowed, be ready to use them, as the other players will, and you don’t want to be left with a short stack. Budget accordingly: bring a bankroll of three to five times the buy-in. Play will generally be looser in a re-buy game, as players are less afraid of losing their chips. They may go all-in straight away with a relatively weak hand.

Re-buys are a useful option but can be a sure way of quickly burning through your bankroll. Use them sparingly and keep cool. It’s a matter of knowing when to go bust and when to stay in the game.

Joanne Morris